We’ve all been sitting in a classroom waiting for a lecture to commence when some huckster grabs the proverbial mic and begins to pitch a shady “internship” or “management opportunity.” The speaker then proceeds to pass out slips of paper on which unwitting students provide their contact information.
When University of Minnesota professors allow such speakers to address the classroom, they are, in a way, tacitly endorsing the presenter’s message. Yet some professors are totally unaware of the content of these presentations.
In my experience, would-be presenters toss around some buzzwords, and well-meaning professors allow them to give a quick pitch for an opportunity that might interest students.
The truth is, these “opportunities” are generally highly suspect. Oftentimes, the recruiters complicate basic information about their organization. For example, I once had a recruiter avoid saying the full name of his or her organization, deliberately leaving out “Painting” from College Works Painting. Such tactics often mislead students into taking mundane, low-paying jobs that they believed to be competitive internships.
University departments need to contact professors to establish some guidelines for allowing such presentations. By all means, allow speakers if they represent relevant groups. If a South American study abroad program wants to pitch to a Spanish class, they should feel free to do so. However, the University should not permit recruiters for questionable organizations to barge into whatever classrooms they wish and recruit students to paint houses or sell textbooks.